New Mexico Teens Work For Tobacco-Free Schools

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ISLAMABAD, Mar 14: tudents across New Mexico will be hosting events at nine high schools on Wednesday, March 15th as part of the national Kick Butts Day. This is the 22nd year of the event that encourages all public schools in the state to work toward tobacco-free status – 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

The students are coordinating their efforts on national Kick Butts Day as part of the Evolvement Program of New Mexico and the 24/7 Campaign, two youth initiatives that focus on promoting policy change as a solution to the problems created by tobacco use. Both projects are supported by New Mexico Department of Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program (TUPAC) with Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Funds.

“Schools are places where kids learn, inside and outside the classroom, and we’re very proud of these teens,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “They are applying their lessons learned to improve public health in their own communities by helping to reduce tobacco use.”

Fewer New Mexico teens are smoking cigarettes. In 2015, the latest data available, an estimated 11.4 percent smoked, compared to 14.4 percent just two years before, putting the rate of cigarette smoking among high school youth at an all-time low in New Mexico – about one in nine students.

Among high school aged students, only 40 percent have ever tried smoking cigarettes, which is down significantly from the 62 percent rate of experimentation back in 2005. However, a U.S. Surgeon General report, released in December 2016 reveals e-cigarette experimentation is rising. In New Mexico, about one in three youth who have tried an e-cigarette have never smoked a tobacco cigarette.

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism empowering youth to stand up and speak out about the dangers of not just cigarettes but all tobacco products. The day was created in 1996 by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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